I Interviewed Harry Shum Jr. And Jessica Rothe About 'All My Life' And It'll Break Your Heart In The Best Way
Start writing a post

I Interviewed Harry Shum Jr. And Jessica Rothe About 'All My Life' And It'll Break Your Heart In The Best Way

The stars of this movie talk about the reality of cinematic representation and star-crossed relationships.

I Interviewed Harry Shum Jr. And Jessica Rothe About 'All My Life' And It'll Break Your Heart In The Best Way
Universal Pictures

"All My Life" is not your typical romance blockbuster. Although co-stars Jessica Rothe and Harry Shum Jr. acted in hits such as "Happy Death Day" and "Crazy Rich Asians," respectively, the two decided to try an unglamorous take on unconditional love during a time when we needed it most.

Directed by Marc Meyers, All My Life is a drama about a young couple, Jennifer Carter (Jessica Rothe) and Solomon Chau (Harry Shum Jr.), choosing monogamy despite imminent tragedy.

After enjoying an early screening of the film, I spoke with Jessica Rothe and Harry Shum Jr. during a newspaper roundtable interview. The two Zoomed in and answered inquiries with an appropriate air of solemnity, given the emotional nature of the film.

The tale begins just like most other rom coms: boy meets girl, they fall in love, boy proposes to girl, etc. However, as the couple plans their wedding, the film takes a heartbreaking turn when Solomon receives a terminal cancer diagnosis. Nevertheless, Jennifer resolves to marry him regardless of the shortened time they have together. With financial and emotional assistance from friends and strangers, Solomon and Jennifer manage to tie the knot.

Universal Pictures

Coming out during an age rife with illness and grief, this film makes an opportune statement about the necessity of sharing in suffering, said Rothe.

"We are so much stronger when we band together and lead with love for other people - especially in this year of heartache and isolation, the film is very timely," Rothe said. "I hope that people can find solace in it and have compassion for themselves and other people."

The "Glee" actor echoed his counterpart's personal connection to the hardship.

"This year we stopped taking little things for granted, like just hugging someone," Shum Jr. said. "After finishing the film, it was really emotional and took me a bit to get out of that headspace."

One extraordinary aspect of "All My Life" is that the film is based on the true story of an ordinary Canadian couple. The widowed real-life Carter was keenly involved in the filmmaking process. In a letter released with the "All My Life" trailer, Carter said it was a privilege to share her and Chau's story with the world. As the real-life inspiration for the story, Carter shared her stories, pictures, and videos with the stars of the movie but permitted the actors to make the narrative their own.

Universal Pictures

"Jen gave us freedom as performers to put a lot of ourselves into it," Shum Jr. said.

At first glance, "All My Life" seems to join the ranks of a type of film Hollywood Reporter calls, "a cancer-romancer," like "The Fault in Our Stars" and "A Walk to Remember." But, the stars argued, the story of Solomon and Jennifer brings a new nuance to the trope.

"Our film has a healthy balance of different perspectives, from how the caretaker feels and how the person with cancer feels," Shum Jr. said. "A lot of times films just focus on cancer, but I think that's what makes us unique from the others."

Another distinctive attribute of this story is its BIPOC representation — in this case, Asian-American portrayal — into the cultural landscape of film. A recent study by USC showed Asian-Americans representing only 1% of all leading roles in Hollywood. But Shum Jr. said he views this role as a steady step toward equity.

"I'm honored but also, I'd be lying if I didn't say it's about damn time," Shum Jr. said. "It's important we start learning about the history of why we have to celebrate moving forward as a human race. It's important for us to keep telling different stories of faces that have been erased. I hope that it continues more for more people and they can see themselves on screen as characters that are complex. I'm grateful to be in this position and I hope it doesn't stop here."

Universal Pictures

Just like "All My Life's" representation, the story is complex, contended Rothe.

""All My Life" explores illness in a more three dimensional and layered way than other stories," Rothe said. "While it's understandable for a lot of films that deal with cancer to feel depressing and bleak, our movie has a message of hope."

The unique positivity in peril is due, in part, to the actors' natural chemistry, which was harnessed by improvisation on set, according to Rothe.

"Our director encouraged us to let scenes breathe and to find the improvisation for little moments that weren't in the script that we could add inside jokes and ways to lift each other out of the moments that got particularly heavy," Rothe said.

At the end of the film, Jennifer expresses that the average life span is 27,375 days, but it's only the days where something special happens that we remember. She and Solomon attempt to squeeze a lifetime's worth of memories into the days they have together. The greatest rebellion is choosing to hope when life does not give you a reason to, said Rothe on "All My Life's" optimism.

Universal Pictures

"Hopefully in 2021, we can all travel and go to parties and see all of our loved ones and do all of the things that normally you think of when you think of living life to its fullest but I think that you can live your life to its fullest in some small, intimate ways as well," Rothe said.

The film is available in select theaters and on-demand on December 23.

Report this Content

TikTok Made Me Buy It: Flawless's Skincare Fridge

I bought and tested one of TikTok's popular products so you don't have to.


I spend a lot of time on TikTok and I never know whether the products I see are worth it or not, especially when I'm looking at the price. For Christmas, my aunt got me a gift card to Ulta. I didn't know what to buy. I have way too many palettes and lipsticks. I have my essentials. What else could I need? Then it hit me that I saw a lot of people these past few months showing off their skincare fridges. So, the second I thought of it I went on the Ulta app and bought it. So, here are my thoughts.

Keep Reading... Show less

37 Cute And Unique Pinterest Board Titles

Let's be real, the hardest part about Pinterest is thinking of a cute title for your board.


I don't know about anyone else but I have recently become re-obsessed with Pinterest. Like, I am spending a stupid amount of time on Pinterest daily now. While I have been binging Pinterest I have found that I love making cute and aesthetic boards but it is SO hard to come up with a name to match it. So, I scoured the internet and my brain for you. Happy pinning!

Keep Reading... Show less

This Is What Type Of Person You Are Based On Your Favorite Cereal

Your cereal preference reveals more than you think.

Photo by Nyana Stoica on Unsplash

Whether you eat cereal for breakfast or a late-night snack, you probably have a favorite. Little did you know that what you prefer says a lot about your personality.

Keep Reading... Show less
Alexis Hoffman

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all know that cutting out social interaction has taken its toll.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked Instagram How 2020 Was, And Maybe It Wasn't The Worst Year Ever

2020 is a year to remember but it's not as bad as we made it out to be.


It's finally 2021 and we're honestly all just happy that 2020 is over. I decided to ask my Instagram followers how they felt about 2020 and the results were a little more mixed up than expected.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ever since I watched "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days," I've been a major Matthew McConaughey fan. I've seen most of his movies, and I definitely got way too excited when he finally made an Instagram! So when he announced he would be releasing a memoir titled "Greenlights," I knew I absolutely had to get my hands on this book. And so did the rest of the world, as the book began to flood social media.

Truthfully, I would much rather read a fiction book and dive into another world than read a nonfiction book - even if it is one of my favorite celebrities. But I had a feeling this book wouldn't disappoint or bore.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Armie Hammer Scandal Discourse Is Kink Shaming And Harming Actual Victims

The rumors surrounding Armie Hammer has resulted in some very toxic and harmful discourse.


Sex is something that occupies a very significant place in our lives. Even asexual people can have an active sex life. With the various types of people that comprise this world, it obviously results in various sexual interests. And unconventional people can engage in some pretty unconventional sex practices. Even the most conventional people on the surface might surprise us with their sexual fantasies.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments